philgyau-headshotHoward University has tabbed Philip Gyau, who starred for the Bison in the mid-1980s and earned six caps for the U.S. national team, to turn around the men’s soccer program.

Gyau, 48, will succeed Michael Lawrence, who was fired after a 1-17-0 record in his sixth season last fall. The sides are expected to finalize a deal soon.

“Howard has made an offer to coach Gyau; we are working to formalize the contract in the coming days,” university spokeswoman Kerry-Ann Hamilton told the Insider on Tuesday evening. “The university is excited to have an alumnus and a soccer champion return to our intercollegiate athletics program.”

A national power for decades featuring players from the Caribbean, West Africa and the United States, the program has fallen on hard times since last qualifying for the NCAA tournament in 1997. Last season the Bison were ranked last among 203 Division I teams. They competed in the low-level Atlantic Soccer Conference from 2000 to 2011 and were independent the past two seasons. This fall they will affiliate with the Sun Belt Conference, which is sponsoring soccer after an almost 20-year hiatus.

Gyau, a Gwynn Park High School graduate who lives in Silver Spring, was a wing on the U.S. senior squad from 1989 to ’91. Between the NASL’s demise in 1985 and MLS’s launch 11 years later, he played professionally in the ASL, APSL and CISL. He also played on, and coached, the U.S. beach soccer team. In recent years, he has run a youth program and coached in the Bethesda Soccer Club.